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ISLC Report 2 Impact on Lead Industry by International Regulatio

2019.09.04 15:36

The second live report of the sixth ILSC (International Secondary Lead Conference) held at Westin Hotel Convention Center in Bali, Indonesia, is on the latest global regulatory trend and market analysis of Dr. Steve Binks, the Regulatory Affairs Director of ILA (International Lead Association).

 

Dr. Binks joined ILA as Regulatory Affairs Director in 2011. Previously he served as Director of Hazard Assessment and Communication at GlaxoSmithKline. He has been involved in understanding the need to develop legislations and influencing its evolution since he joined SC Johnson as European Product Safety Manager in 1991.

 

 

Steve’s doubts and motives are…

-Current lead market depends on the future of lead batteries. The huge increases in global energy demand has opened new opportunities for energy storage applications, but there are real question marks as to whether lead batteries will benefit from this revolution as a result of regulation that is pushing for substitution and increasing operational costs.  

-This provides an overview of recent global regulatory developments that impact manufacturing and recycling of lead batteries in the context of wider policy, as well as macro trends driving the battery market. This study also sets out an analysis of regulations that would impact other lead applications, and provides an outline of the actions that the industry is undertaking to combat these threats.

 

Steve’s presentation firstly said:

-“Global battery industry faces two regulatory issues. One is a regulation on substitutes for lead batteries (as they are toxic materials). There is also an issue over the operating licenses, whether operations are meeting the standards or not. He said there are efforts to innovate new substitutes that are safer than lead in lead batteries.”

 

He went on to say:

“The backdrop is that the automakers and battery manufacturers are seeking substitutes, affected by the insecurities in the future mounting up over possibilities for more regulations rather than regulations themselves. For example, Japan’s GS Yuasa is developing 12V LIB (Lithium ion battery) and Japan’s Mazda plans to replace lead batteries with Yuasa’s 12VLIB.

 

 

photophoto

photophoto

 

 

The EU has five regulations. The two are Authorisations and Restriction in REACH.

1.Authorisations

 Promoting shift to non-lead materials. Boosting it technologically and economically.

 The EC has listed up some materials recommended to prohibit, and will be decided in March next year. Lead metal is among the suggested materials.

 Compounds containing lead have been excluded. If EC includes lead metal into the prohibition list, it possibly would have negative impact on the entire lead industry.

 Lead contained products that have already been prohibited include jewelries, gun bullets, and stabilizers in PVC. But gun bullets with the exceptions of those used in wet lands fall outside the regulation. Regulatory targets vary. Lead used as silica separator in lead batteries are heard to be regulated.

 

2.Restrictions  

 Regulations prohibiting usage and manufacturer of lead. Imports included.

 If marked handle with care, it may fall outside restrictions.

 

3.ELV Directive

 Prohibits usage of harmful elements

 Usage of lead, mercury, cadmium and hexavalent chromium has been prohibited for new vehicles since 2003. Batteries were excluded, but currently restrictive moves are about to affect lead batteries.

 

4.Battery Directive

 Urged to improve ecological performance. R&D on lengthening battery life and batteries containing less toxic material.

 

5.Circular Economy Strategy

 Regulation to establish circular system of non-toxic materials, to more accurately trace toxic material in recycling, and to accurately grasp and understand recycle flow of lead used in cars.

 

 

Lead batteries for cars

As aforementioned, lead batteries have been treated as exceptions and sanctuaries. Its rationales are advantages described below among others.

 1.Safety
 2.Design (battery size that will not impair car’s total design)
 3.Functions during winter period
 4.Endures high temperatures
 5.Sustainable recyclability

From the total cost perspective, car lead batteries have been in use for a long time.

 

But according to Steve:

-“ELV (end of life vehicle) regulation will be revised in Europe next year. Next year is particularly important.”

 

It may seem lead has no future surrounded by regulations, but Steve also said:

“There is room left for discussions as lead’s impact on human body and its real risks have not been clarified yet.”

 

This March, North America’s Toxic Substance Control Act (US version of REACH) that determined 40 chemical substances as high priority did not include lead. For the next three years, there will be no discussion on removal of lead.

 

On the other hand, California’s Green Chemistry Initiative has included lead batteries (among the regulatory targets) in the 2018-2020 draft.

 

This is a directive to manufacturers, plead find lead substitutes. One has to choose, to stop using target substance, or to look for alternatives.

 

LIB and nickel zinc batteries are candidate substitutes.

 

“In reality, lead-free products were achieved from gasoline and paints so some do say batteries can do it”, says Steve.

 

But:

-From the standpoint of CO2, lead cannot be ultimately excluded.

-In the last ten years, global lead battery demand has doubled. Driven by the growth of emerging economies, Africa’s growth. There are discussions within EC on whether to allow exports of spent led batteries outside the EU.

 

Steve said:

-Lead regulation for surely is fueling sentiment to look for substitutes. Climate change debate in the automotive industry and lead battery issues have been raised together as a single issue.

 

There is a strong belief that lead is dangerous. There is also a belief LIB is good for the environment. Is this true? ILA (Europe), EUROBAT (Europe), BCI (US), ABR (US) are forming alliances, making moves to secure lead value chain. They are urging a review of lead batteries.

 

As reported in the first report, there is a strong pressure to remove lead that could be described as political. But is it easy to make a shift to other batteries away from lead that has secured this traditional and large market? There is no answer yet. But it remains a fact that year by year, regulations are tightening.

 

 

→(related article)The sixth International Secondary Lead Conference started on Sep

 

 

(IRUNIVERSE YT&IN)

 

 

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